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Asset Management: Allianz wants other people's money

Allianz has a 100-year history of managing insurance assets. Internationalization of capital markets, fierce competition in asset management and the arrival of the euro have prompted the company to set up a third-party investment firm. Is Allianz Asset Management ready for the challenge ahead?

Moving out of Germany

Dresdner alliance rumoured

Most people setting up a new investment house would be happy to start with a few million dollars under management. Markus Riess is more fortunate. Launched on July 1 1998, his new company has Dm600 billion ($335 billion).

The chief investment officer and joint managing director of Allianz Asset Management has assembled a team in an unostentatious building in Munich away from the financial centres of Frankfurt, London and New York. From there he hopes the fledgling organization will build a reputation strong enough to take on the asset-management world.

Ask about his hopes and plans for the future of the business and Riess, together with his other managing directors, is modest and understated. They choose their words very carefully, partly because they do not want to give too much away at this stage, partly because, as yet, there is not much to tell.

However there is a quiet confidence about Riess and his team. "We believe we have a good product, we have a critical mass of assets which gives us a head start in getting clients in the non-Allianz world and we have some excellent people," he says.

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